In late 2007, Georges St. Pierre was preparing for the Olympic trials in hopes of making the Canadian wrestling team when he got a call from the UFC asking him to take an injured Matt Serra’s place against Matt Hughes. By accepting the fight, he put his dream of competing in the Olympics on hold. But, according to the immensely popular champion, that burning desire has not been extinguished.
St. Pierre, despite his lack of a collegiate pedigree, is widely recognized as the best wrestler in mixed martial arts, but how will that translate on wrestling’s international stage?
No one can be sure -- not even St. Pierre -- but he is adamant he would like to find out.
Noting his contractual status with the UFC and his need to word his response cautiously, St. Pierre discussed the difficulties he may encounter in his quest to compete in the London games.
“There is a big difference in me saying, ‘I want to go to the Olympic games,’ and actually going to the Olympic games,” said the 28 year-old welterweight champion. “It is very hard … you have to pass through a bunch of obstacles before you get there.”
As for his motivation in crossing over to pure wrestling, St. Pierre pointed to his fascination with the individual aspects of MMA and his desire to perfect his application of each one. It was also apparent that wrestling holds a special place in St. Pierre’s heart. It is the discipline he has excelled at in his MMA career, and the base on which he has built his successful title run.
“I’m a mixed martial artist,” stated St. Pierre. “I like to compete not only in the sport of MMA, but I like the single sports [themselves]. I love wrestling, I love boxing … for me, I love every single [discipline] of the sport. That is why I consider myself a mixed martial artist.”
The thing that has held so many mixed martial artists back in some of the individual sports -- be it boxing, wrestling, or even jiu-jitsu -- is the amount of time they spend across the spectrum of disciplines, rather than keeping a narrow focus. That is a fact that is not lost on St. Pierre.
“It’s tough. It wouldn’t be easy, but maybe we’ll see what is going to happen in London,” said St. Pierre with a wry smile.
Fight Club Q&A Notes:
• St. Pierre stated that he has recently added a nutritionist and has since gained 10 pounds of muscle.
• GSP stated his toughest fight was against either Jon Fitch or Thiago Alves. Fitch, because he never gave up; and Alves, dut to his size and strength.
• The big difference between the first and second B.J. Penn fights was his preparation, he stated.
• “I’m not afraid of anyone in the sport,” was his answer when asked about fighting Anderson Silva.
• GSP would love to fight Silva if it makes sense weight-wise. He is getting bigger, but so is Silva. St. Pierre also privately admitted his decision will have a lot to do with the outcome of his teammate Nate Marquardt’s inevitable rematch with Silva.
• He stated his belief that skill always beats size, like his fight with Alves.
• Whoever wins between Dan Hardy and Mike Swick will deserve a title shot. Both fighters are worthy and will be tough matchups, stated St. Pierre.
• Health is GSP’s biggest concern, and he will never put anything into his body that would jeopardize that. Will only do it naturally, no steroids, said the champion.
• If St. Pierre decides to go up to middleweight, he will probably have to stay up due to the muscle he would have to put on.
• Dream fights for St. Pierre would include Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar, Gegard Mousasi vs. top UFC light heavyweights and a fight pitting himself against Jake Shields.
• Royce Gracie was GSP’s inspiration to get into MMA. He met Wagney Fabiano at a jiu-jitsu class and got tapped out like 10 times in five minutes. He was hooked from that point on.
• GSP is a way better fighter than a dancer, and he isn’t sure he would want to follow in Chuck Liddell’s footsteps on “Dancing with the Stars.”
• B.J. Penn was the most arrogant person he has ever fought, according to GSP.
• Will never fight a friend or a training partner. Should Nate Marquardt win the title at 185, he would not move up.
• St. Pierre stated that Penn was looking for an excuse for the second loss and came up with the greasing accusation. He feels he should have looked inside himself for the reason he lost, not make excuses.
• He doesn’t watch much MMA, other than fights with potential opponents. After training so much, he doesn’t want to watch it and would rather just see the highlights on the Internet.
• St. Pierre stated he became a victim of the fame that came with winning the championship from Matt Hughes. He stated that he forgot that no matter how great a fighter you are, you are only one mistake away from losing.
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